tv Logging in Oregon CSPAN June 4, 2017 8:47pm-9:01pm EDT
you are watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming of american history every weekend on to entry. follow us on twitter at c-span history. we gave information about our schedule and keep up with the latest history news. all weekend, american history tv is featuring eugene, oregon, home to the university of oregon founded in 1876. c-span visited many sites showcasing its history. learn more about eugene all weekend here on american history tv. >> the logging industry in oregon was really important because it was seen as sort of an exhaustible resource. when you first come to oregon, if you're not familiar with our ecology, you are shocked by how many trees we have. we are developing the technology to kind of cope with the mountainous terrain and the large size of the trees and figure out how to turn that resource into something we can
harness economically to support the people living in this area. we are in the lane county historical museum exhibit, lost towns, which is a social history of the logging industry. it took its inspiration from the idea of ghost towns. here in this part of oregon we don't have the classic old west ghost towns. we have the talents that were towns that abandoned for various reasons. this section discusses what life is like for the loggers. wendling was started getting used in the 1880's and was run by private companies, which is typical for early logging in this part of the country. small companies would take over a site and usually over capitalize by investing in machinery or manpower. and then the site would transfer hands. what became wendling changed hands about every year between
1880 and 1896. it was purchased by a few men who incorporated in 1896. they ran it as an organized logging camp. it really was rough living. they did fieldwork or accommodations. they built a bunkhouse. the bunkhouse got to be a bit of a joke among the men. they did not have the best access to sanitation, so the bunkhouse often had flea infestations. they were about 20 to 30 men living in the bunkhouse, and possibly one of dwindling's most famous residence is a man known only as the stump man. as sometime around 1898, he got so fed up with conditions at the bunkhouse he kept getting that he took a stump from a massive tree they were unable to remove.
stump pulling is very challenging. put a roof on it and lived in it for two years. the bunkhouse eventually became so much of a problem that after they built the sawmill, and then routed steam pipes from the mill into the bunkhouse as a way to fumigate it. they sealed up all the windows and doors and just let thise 's -- the steam blasted for a day. all that it was not the paint off the wall and they still had lice. windling, the owners realized working conditions and living conditions were pretty harsh. what they decided to do was take on an idea that happened in a lot of other parts of the u.s. and was becoming popular in the early 20th century and organize as a company town.
they actually built bigger accommodations for families, and they built a much nicer and more up-to-date bunkhouse with meeting facilities. -- bathing facilities. they built the dining hall that could sit 175 people at a sitting. they tried to apply current business practices to the living conditions as a way to sort of improve morale and make sure they had the best loggers working for them. one of the largest part of our collection is our antique technology collection. we have a number of artifacts specifically related to logging that we have on view. one of the most popular artifacts, especially with former loggers themselves are the boots. we start seeing them developing we start seeing them developing
in the 19th century. what they are is a modified heeled work boot. spike souls are added to the bottom. what they are made for is to actually allow men to stand on springboards, and you type of logging technology. boards were driven into trees to raise them so they could cut the undergrowth. they had a nice purchase on the board. they were also used in what is known as river drives, where the logs would be floated in a body of water and then would stand on the box. this allowed them to have a good grip and uneven conditions. this pair dates from the 1940's. they were donated by the former owner. another interesting thing is the no cocks allowed sign. that is for, many of the communities and businesses in many areas surrounding logging camps would often have trouble with loggers coming in thereir boots and ruining the floors. from the 40's to the 60's and
70's you have these posted in logging towns. for the larger pieces of equipment, what we have done with this display is traced the history of logging technology. we start with a cool that was -- tool that was actually developed on the east coast in the 1850's. it was also used out here. what it is is a spiked tool you would use to move logs on a river drive. as they are floating in the water it would be used to put them in the water, take them out while you're standing on them. river drives were pretty grueling out here, they could take up to two weeks. the net would be in the water almost all the time with their pv's. the next is an early piece of logging technology, a felling ax. it would be used in most of the
rest of the united states, but in the west coast of the size of our trees, trying to fell 10 foot in diameter redwood with an ax, you would be added for days. we saw the ax above it, a crosscut saw. that is a saw made to be used by two men standing on either side. unlike what a lot of people think. you are cutting as you push the log, not on the pull.each would take turns pushing. you are using a much stronger force than you would be using pulling. the next is a very popular circular saw mill blade. this particular blatantly from a -- blade would be from a smaller mill. it would be used to cut the raw
logs in the lumber. this example probably dates from the early 20th century. power logging or using gasoline powered saws starts coming in after world war i. in the 1930's and 1940's we see the classic chainsaws being introduced. we had a well known in the area example. this is a two-man chainsaw. you have strong guys at the end with the diesel powered engine. you have another guy on the opposite end who would actually help guide it through the tree. this particular model was outlawed because of the danger if the chain broke. it could take out both of the men. it was a pretty tricky piece of machinery to use. another technological change we see when logging started in
earnest on the west coast is the invention of what is known as the springboard. it was really important to logging because as you can see in these photos there is really thick underbrush and our forest. it is difficult actually clear the ground enough to get to the tree. and with firs, redwoods, cedars, you have to go up several feet to get to a spot where it is more energy effective to saw. they would take pieces of raw plank. they would put what are known as toes, a small iron piece at the end. they would drive that into victory treaty in the flat drive that into a tree to
have the flat surface to work on. this solved the problem of uneven ground or dealing with felling a tree on a hillside, which is common in this county. what they would do is two men would drive the springboard into the tree, pop up on the springboard, fell the tree and usually use an ax to make the cut. you can see what happens when they get in far enough the tree actually falls. you have to jump off the springboard and run out of the way as quickly as you can. which you can see in this photo from 1901, they would basically jump out of the way and ryan. an interesting issue that gets brought up now when discussing logging, and it really became part of the conversation and 1980's and 1990's is the concept of clearcutting. the term clear-cut is a new term. it really refers to any method of logging where you fell the tree and take out everything in the general area. you don't leave any trees standing.
that was the basic method for felling trees until more recent times when they started investigating more ecologically friendly efforts of logging. it was known to be problematic as early as the 1880's and 1890's. they knew it cost soil erosion, and led to forest fires, and it led to less biodiversity. the reason they did it was partly because they did not really have the technology to pick and choose, especially in the early days. when they had more complex technology, the 1910's and 1920's, it was more expensive to maintain forest and landing clear-cut land. a company would owns several thousand acres and they would just go from site to site and clear-cut. maintaining the tax bill on the land if they replanted was cost prohibitive. we have a number of photos that
show was considered today to be clearcutting, but at the time was standard logging procedures. this photo shows windling in 1925. a lot of these logs are relatively small for west coast standards. there are still people very much involved in the logging industry. wayne county has a lot of people working now who are interested in sustainable forestry practices and helping to improve our ecology and try to make up for some of the mistakes made in the past. there are also a number of people are working to develop new products using smaller trees and more sustainable practices to make new building materials. there is a lot of interesting things going on with the industry and people trying to work towards figuring out a way to use timber in the most intelligent and ecologically sound way they can.
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